Samsung made a 12-inch tablet. But who wants a tablet that big?

January 7

(David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

With a flourish on Monday, Samsung debuted a 12.2-inch tablet it's calling the Galaxy Note Pro at CES in Las Vegas. The device is wide enough to accommodate a full-sized virtual keyboard and supports split-screen multitasking.

"A 12-inch display is about the size of a normal paper," said Nanda Ramachandran, Samsung's head of telecommunications. "So when you're reading, you don't have to pinch and zoom all the time."

It's the first volley in what could become an arms race over large-screen tablet releases. Apple is said to be testing a 12-and-change-inch screen design for a possible "iPad Pro."

Hands-on reviews of Samsung's bigger device seem to confirm what the rest of us might grasp intuitively: If existing 10-inch tablets are hard to use one-handed, an even larger screen would be impossible to use except as a substitute for a laptop in a conference-room or other static environment. At that point, the tablet's advantage on weight is pretty much canceled out.

That said, maybe if these things get large enough, we can start carrying them around like we used to do with clipboards (remember those?). Combined with a stylus, the big-format tablet could see some useful applications. Typing one-handed, however, would be a disaster.

Either way, it seems we're well on our way to satirists' vision of the future. First we had the iPhone. Then the iPad. Next comes the iBoard, followed someday soon by the iMat.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecom, broadband and digital politics. Before joining the Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.
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Brian Fung · January 7